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Supergirl: Pilot

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#1 Virgil Vox

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Posted 26 October 2015 - 09:30 AM

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Well, the first episode of Supergirl is finally here. Even though I've already seen it, I am so psyched for this series to start.
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#2 Virgil Vox

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Posted 26 October 2015 - 08:45 PM

This is more or less the review I posted awhile back, with some changes made to it. I have to say, watching the pilot again was so much fun. I still had a huge smile on my face throughout the episode despite this being the second time I’ve watched it.

If you watched the six minute trailer, then you pretty much have the plot of the pilot. Kara was sent to Earth to look after her baby cousin. However, her ship was caught in the wake of Krypton exploding and was shoved into the Phantom Zone. 24 years later, her ship somehow managed to escape and find its way to Earth. There she discovers that her cousin is now a grown adult known to the world as Superman and she's still a 13 year old girl. Superman takes her to live with the Danvers (played by Helen Slater and Dean Cain), two scientists who helped him learn about her powers. They take her in as her owneven though they have a daughter of their own named Alex. Kara decides to try and be normal and doesn't use her powers since she doesn’t think the world needs another hero. That changes when the plane her sister is on is in trouble, and Kara leaps to the rescue. After that she decides to don tights and a cape and become a hero like her cousin.

The episode does set up what I'm assuming is going to be the season long arc. Kara wasn't the only one to escape the Phantom Zone. A prison ship harboring some of the galaxy's deadliest criminals also broke free of the Zone and crash landed on Earth. The aliens all went on the run. For whatever reason, they’re still on Earth. I’m not sure if they can’t leave, or don’t want to. To make matters worse, they're being led by someone called the General, and it's not who you think. I didn’t mention her identity in my original review so as not to spoil it until the episode aired. I’ll talk about it now, though. Its Kara’s aunt, though it is unclear if she is or isn't Lara. I don’t see them making Clark’s biological mother the main villain, since that would mean Clark would have to have some interaction with her and I don’t think the show wants to use Superman at all. Plus she doesn’t really mention Clark at all.

Oh, and it was Alura, Kara's mother, who put the criminals in the PZ prison so they all have a personal reason to target Supergirl. The DEO was formed to combat these alien menaces, and they blame their arrival on Kara. This means that all the villains have a great reason for attacking Kara and National City, and it creates friction between Kara and the DEO.

Vartox is a decent first villain. He’s incredibly strong, has a powerful axe that can cut Kara, and is a misogynist. He’s not very memorable, but he gets the ball rolling on the villains.

Kara's two fights with Vartox were really well done . Kara uses her full range of powers and the two just beat the crap out of each other and get thrown through all manner of walls and cars. I loved it when Kara drops from the sky in front of Vartox's truck and just lets it ram her, throwing Vartox out the front windshield and exploding behind her as she walks heroically towards him.

The plane rescue was pretty amazing, and looked really good. It also led to some good moments as Kara got exasperated when she sees the bridge coming up and then later gets annoyed at a TV reporter that complains about the damage done to the bridge.

The cast are perfect in their roles. Melissa Benoist rocks as Kara/Supergirl. She handles all the emotional beats Kara goes through in the pilot. She’s fun and spunky and is just a perfect fit for the character. The show lucked out with her.

The supporting cast is pretty great as well. The Danvers are only seen briefly but I hope they have a bigger presence in the series. Alex is good as Kara's older sister who was jealous of Kara when she first arrived. They have a good relationship but Alex is not supportive of Kara becoming Supergirl at first, mainly because she works for the DEO and knows that the PZ criminals will target Kara if she puts the S on her chest. I’m glad that she came around at the end, though I bet there will still be some tension between the sisters.

Winslow, or just Winn, is Kara's geeky friend who has a crush on her. She confides in him and he helps her make her costume and sends her out to fight crime. He dubs them the Super friends, a name Kara is not fond of but one I hope gets used a lot. He’s kind of like a male Felicity, except without the genius level IQ. Justin Jordan is a great fit for the role, and it’s nice to see him in a role where he’s not a giant jerk (like in Smash). He has the geekiness down pat.

James (only his Mom and Superman call him Jimmy) Olsen is a much cooler, confident character than he is usually depicted. This is an older version of Jimmy who has established himself as an award winning photographer for the Daily Planet and has come to National City and Cat Co. to launch a new chapter of his life. He also came to keep an eye on Kara and to give her Clark's baby blanket for Kara to use as a cape. I don’t think he’s going to be a romantic interest for Kara, or at least I hope not. He’s better as a confidant that can help Kara grow in her powers.

Cat is a really fun character. She's definitely a demanding boss and she mainly latches on to Supergirl to give her failing newspaper a much needed boost, but she also seems to truly believe in Supergirl as a force for good. Or at least that's what I got out of her character. It’s nice to see Calista Flockhart on TV again. I loved her as Ally McBeal.

Henshaw is just a gruff, unyielding military man that sees Kara as more of a hindrance than a help. He doesn’t trust aliens, and that includes Supergirl. Sure, she proves herself by beating Vartox but I don’t think he’s about to roll out the welcome mat.

What I really loved was that it was a really upbeat, optimistic pilot. Kara is a young woman who just wants to help people however she can and she believes she can make a difference as Supergirl. Though don't worry, it's not too bright and cheerful. Hank Henshaw, leader of the DEO, is a pretty pessimistic guy who doesn't believe Kara is capable of helping them and isn't a big fan of Superman and says that there are people out there who don't trust him but don't voice that opinion out of fear. Still, optimism and fun win the day for which I am glad and it seems like the majority of the public at large view Superman as a great hero, a nice change of pace from how he's viewed in the New 52 and apparently in the upcoming Batman Vs. Superman movie.

A lot has been made that Supergirl comes across as too much of a feminist show just based on the trailer, and it definitely has a girl power vibe but I don't think that's a bad thing. This TV show is the first major solo female superhero vehicle in movies or TV recently so playing up that aspect isn't a horrible thing. Besides, if Supergirl were real there would be people like Henshaw and Vartox that wouldn't think she would be as capable just because she is a girl. Maybe people will have a problem with Alura being the dominant parent for Kara, or Kara being referred to as the Daughter of Alura, but if Clark can be Son of Jor-El and if Jor-El and Jonathan get a lot more attention than Martha or Lara, I don't see why Kara can't play up the women in her life.

Also, people were afraid this would be more rom-com than anything else and would focus on her love life but other than one date and Winn pining after her, romance really isn't an issue. Plus, who cares if it is? Oliver's love life became a major focus on his series, and Barry's love of Iris was a major plot in the first season of The Flash.

Superman's presence is felt in the pilot, but besides a real quick look at him as he holds out his hand to a young Kara that just landed, we don't see him. Also, besides Kara calling him Superman at the start, he's never referred by that name again. Instead people just say him and once someone calls him the Man of Steel. Not sure why the episode seemed shy about using the name Superman. Also, he's still in Metropolis so the show is going to have to come up with good reasons for why he never comes to help Supergirl as the season progresses.

I'm guessing everyone in the DEO knows that Kara Danvers is Supergirl. At first it looked like only Henshaw knew but he explicitly states her name in the command room so all the techs there must have heard it. Really, other than Cat all the major characters know Kara's identity. It’s an odd choice to make, since any one of them could blab the secret or be a mole or something. I’d rather not have that many people knowing her secret.

It’s a great pilot that does just about everything right. I am so pumped for the series now that it’s finally airing.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

#3 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 01:03 AM

I guess I'm on the opposite side of the coin here, somewhat.

The whole "My ship somehow got free of the Phantom Zone" just nagged at me, til it dawned on me that for the majority of the trip, she was asleep, or in cryogenic suspension. So how would she even know what happened to her ship?  And where the hell did the Danvers come from? Why wouldn't Kal El have brought her back to the Kent farm? According to the voice over it almost seems like the Danvers raised Clark, not the Kents. But if the Kents did raise Clark, then why would Clark have even confided in the Danvers to begin with?

And now we come to the whole glasses as a disguise thing...Why was Kara wearing them in the beginning? She hadn't come out as SuperGirl yet, so there was no need for any kind of disguise, so why was she wearing them to begin with? Guess I'm just cursed with logical thinking, when it comes to things like that.

I get that Kara wanted to talk about her abilities with someone, and since her sister was dead set against her going public, she had to find someone else. In all her time growing up on Earth she had no other close friends she could tell? She chooses some random coworker to tell?

The special effects were great though, all except for Vartox's ax. It kept reminding me of a Power Rangers weapon. I loved the saving the plane. The fight scenes between Kara and Vartox were good, except for the Power Rangers ax.

As for the whole PZ criminals plot line...it makes me worry that this show is going to be like Smallville, with it's freak of the week formula. Granted, it could be argued that the CW's Flash's follows that also, but the chemistry between the characters makes up for that. And, IMO, the acting on the flash is much much better. This show feels a little too campy for my tastes. I'll give it a few more episodes, but judging from the pilot...not holding out much hope.
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#4 FnlPrblm

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 06:12 AM

I'll only touch on a couple of things.

The glasses could have been to thwart off any kind of recognizing of similarities between Superman and Kara.  The glasses thing would I guess be a low-end idea on that.  But of course, for brand purposes, it's easier to point that out as a resemblance to Superman/Clark Kent.

One would guess that Kara was dropped off in the other city and not raised outside of Metropolis at the Kent's because of the imminent  danger that would put Kara in as to be realized with her identity.

I didn't get the impression that the Danvers had raised Clark at all.  In fact, I didn't see anything as to why the two would be connected, other than maybe Superman saved them at one point or something.  (I'm not a comic book guy, so maybe there is something in there that would state who the Danvers are?)
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#5 FnlPrblm

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 06:33 AM

Also, I didn't care for Cat (or really Calista Flockhart).  I'm hoping both kind of smooth/round out with a bit of polishing.  But to me, she seems like a character who has come into money, not earned it.  Her lines didn't seem like one from a smart or witty billionaire, but of a snob.

I admit, I like the newer version of confident (non-bumbling) Jimmy Olson a bit better than I thought I was going to.  But it was almost a little too much on the confident side.  I was half expecting him to whip out his index finger and thumb and be a shooter.  "riiiiight...Kara.  You know what I'm sayin'."  lol
"It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." --- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Beryl Coronet

The Boscombe Valley Mystery: "There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact."

"Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing." --- Ralph Waldo Emerson 'Art,' 1841

"Such welcome and unwelcome things at once, 'Tis hard to reconcile." --- Macbeth IV.III.138-9


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"Once in one's life, for one mortal moment, one must make a grab for immortality; if not, one has not lived." -- Sylvester Stallone

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#6 G-man

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 08:39 AM

I'm ... not feeling it.

OK, the show is true to silver age depiction Supergirl, she's nice, she's generous, she's respectful, and she likes to help people.  But, as she is presented on the show, in her civilian guise, she's something of a doormat whom people step all over.

Then also, she needs the affirmation of her friends and family in order to stick to her decision, which I'm thinking, if you've come out (cape and all) it's a bit too late to think about going back.  But I guess it's in keeping with the times where second-guessing oneself is a national pastime.   Oh, and it doesn't help when Sis is literally holding her back (dissuading her from using her powers, and keeping her in the dark about Superman's world so that should she does decide to enter it, she has no idea of what she is getting herself into).

Now, what is really tripping me up is that this presumably takes place some ten years after Superman placed her with the Danvers.  In that time, not only was she not using her powers, but also hadn't gotten used to being/considering herself the Danvers' adopted daughter.  Honestly, on her date, the question of where she is from should not have left her stammering, she should have automatically answered with the community in which the Danvers raised her.

She apparently idolizes her cousin, but did no research on his cases (other that collect clippings), discover how he started out, how he was initially regarded, and how he knows when and where to intervene.  I'd think even if she decided the world only needed one hero, she'd be curious.  Instead, we're left with her trying to figure things out from the get go.

Finally, there's the notion of just how many people know about her.  Of course, Superman and the Danvers know about her.  The DEO knew about her at least since they hired her sister.  The phantom zone villains know about her, thanks Auntie Astra.  James Olsen knew about her before they even met.  And now her best bud knows about her.

I guess they were trying to make her "identifiable," and likable, filled with doubts and insecurities, but I generally like my heroes to be more decisive, capable, and assertive.

/s/

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Edited by G-man, 27 October 2015 - 10:43 AM.

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#7 zarkon

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 11:18 AM

View PostG-man, on 27 October 2015 - 08:39 AM, said:


I guess they were trying to make her "identifiable," and likable, filled with doubts and insecurities, but I generally like my heroes to be more decisive, capable, and assertive.

/s/

Gloriosus
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I am a big Superman fan, as well as anything spun off from his success in the comics

This did look like her first week on the job with hardly any practice with her powers

I suspect she will become  more decisive, capable, and assertive as time moves along.

Initially when they announced the actress chosen, thought it wouldn't work due to her not looking like the images we have grown up with in the past.

But I was totally blown away at how well she fit in this role.

I can't wait to see what comes next   :insanosmile:

#8 BklnScott

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 12:35 PM

Who's the evil Kryptonian aunt? I don't remember one of those in the comics.

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#9 G-man

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 01:21 PM

^^^ I don't know, this is the first I've heard of her and suspect that she may've been created specifically for the show.

She goes by the name of Astra, favors Kara's mother in appearance, and the other criminals seem to regard her as the boss of bosses.  Oh, and they specified that the prison-fortress of the phantom zone held more than just Kryptonian criminals, but also criminals of other alien races.

/s/

Gloriosus
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Edited by G-man, 28 October 2015 - 05:34 AM.

Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, so that all may profit by it.
Let me think of the right and lend my assistance to all who may need it, with no regard for anything but justice.
Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.
Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens, and my associates in everything I say and do.
Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.
-- Doc Savage

Few people want to be moderated, most people see the need for everyone else to be moderated. -- Orpheus

#10 BklnScott

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 02:47 PM

Oh is the evil aunt Laura Benanti too? That's fun. She's a great theater actress.

I thought I glimpsed The Parasite and maybe Despero (but without the fish fin on his head!) on that mission control screen.

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#11 G-man

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Posted 28 October 2015 - 07:54 AM

Just checked, and yep, the evil aunt is also played by Laura Benanti.

/s/

Gloriosus
the G-man Himself
Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, so that all may profit by it.
Let me think of the right and lend my assistance to all who may need it, with no regard for anything but justice.
Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.
Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens, and my associates in everything I say and do.
Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.
-- Doc Savage

Few people want to be moderated, most people see the need for everyone else to be moderated. -- Orpheus

#12 Christopher

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Posted 28 October 2015 - 10:30 AM

View PostFnlPrblm, on 27 October 2015 - 06:12 AM, said:

The glasses could have been to thwart off any kind of recognizing of similarities between Superman and Kara.  The glasses thing would I guess be a low-end idea on that.  But of course, for brand purposes, it's easier to point that out as a resemblance to Superman/Clark Kent.

I think it's more that she was trying to hide herself, to be "normal," so she hid behind glasses and shapeless clothes to appear unassuming. She also made little use of her powers -- her hearing was the only one she used before the plane rescue. It symbolized how she was trying to quash her potential within a set of socially defined limits, which is very, very allegorical.


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I didn't get the impression that the Danvers had raised Clark at all.  In fact, I didn't see anything as to why the two would be connected, other than maybe Superman saved them at one point or something.  (I'm not a comic book guy, so maybe there is something in there that would state who the Danvers are?)

In the original, Silver Age Supergirl comics, Kara Zor-El initially adopted the identity of orphan Linda Lee, but was later adopted by scientist Fred Danvers and his wife Edna. In the show, as Kara's narration stated, the Danverses are scientists who helped Superman to understand his powers.


View PostG-man, on 27 October 2015 - 08:39 AM, said:

OK, the show is true to silver age depiction Supergirl, she's nice, she's generous, she's respectful, and she likes to help people.  But, as she is presented on the show, in her civilian guise, she's something of a doormat whom people step all over.

Which is part of the allegorical point. That's the persona she's built for herself in the course of denying who she really is, and the story was about her stepping out of that role to become a stronger, more independent woman. Presumably she will now use the timid persona as camouflage, Clark Kent-style. But there's a clip or two in the extended trailer showing that it won't last for long.


Quote

Then also, she needs the affirmation of her friends and family in order to stick to her decision, which I'm thinking, if you've come out (cape and all) it's a bit too late to think about going back.

No, she stuck with her decision despite the disapproval of her sister, and said in no uncertain terms that she had no desire to go back. Later on, after she'd discovered her role in bringing Fort Rozz to Earth and felt that her presence did more harm than good, that's when Alex admitted she'd been wrong and selfish to hold Kara back all these years. That wasn't Kara being so weak that she needed others to convince her -- that was Alex finally recognizing Kara's strength and becoming supportive as she should've been all along.



Quote

I guess they were trying to make her "identifiable," and likable, filled with doubts and insecurities, but I generally like my heroes to be more decisive, capable, and assertive.

The pilot was about Kara learning to be assertive and independent. You're mistaking the beginning of her arc for the end.
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#13 G-man

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Posted 28 October 2015 - 10:37 AM

No I'm not.  I'm simply not impressed with their conception and execution.

Given that this show was already on my "probably not" list for viewing, they really had to deliver something to make it worth my while to continue to tune in.  And you know what? They didn't, at least not for me.

Of course, YMMV.

/s/

Gloriosus
the G-man Himself
Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, so that all may profit by it.
Let me think of the right and lend my assistance to all who may need it, with no regard for anything but justice.
Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.
Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens, and my associates in everything I say and do.
Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.
-- Doc Savage

Few people want to be moderated, most people see the need for everyone else to be moderated. -- Orpheus



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